On Writing Children's Books & the Business of Being an Author with Rae Rankin (Equestrian Author Spotlight Podcast Episode 3)
Episode 3: Welcome to the Equestrian Author Spotlight podcast! A weekly podcast featuring interviews with equine authors who love all things horses and writing about them. In each episode, you’ll hear inspirational stories from horse book authors including writing advice and marketing tips to help you write your own horse book. If you are an author, aspire to be an author, or simply love horse books then you are in the right place! In this week's episode, you'll meet children's book author Rae Rankin.
You'll learn ...
About Children's Book Author Rae Rankin
Rae Rankin is an independent marketing and graphic design consultant transplanted from sunny central California to the wilds of Utah. After two landlocked years (no the Great Salt Lake is not a substitute), her family was transferred to the Pacific Northwest. Four years later, she has come full circle and returned to California.
Rae has always had a passion for writing and reading. Cowgirl Lessons is her first children’s book. Her second children's book, Beach Day, and her third children's book, Cowgirl Christmas, were released in 2018. She is currently working on a fifth children's book.
Rae lives with a loving, supportive husband; teenage equestrian daughter; a dog who has her own business cards; and a neurotic cat who eats plastic house plants.
Watch Rae Rankin's Interview on YouTube
Or Listen to the Audio Only Version
Rae Rankin Podcast Interview Excerpt
Carly: What excites you about writing children's books?
Rae: I've been writing for as long as I can remember, but I had never published anything which leads us to Cowgirl Lessons. I had heard that our loving Duchess, the horse that my daughter rode, had passed away and I wanted to memorialize her because she had such an impact on all the kids that rode her. I wanted to keep her alive if you will, so I started writing what I thought was going to be just a poem. The more I got into it, I realized I could turn it into a children's book and share that love with everybody. As soon as I had written that first one, it was like I kind of found myself. I love seeing that connection with the kids and their parents when they read the books together. and after that first book.
Carly: You decided to independently publish your children's books. Why did you decide to go that route?
Rae: I did a bunch of research and it was interesting that when you work with children's books that the publisher just wants a story. They don't want the artwork, so you don't have any control over that. I decided I would use the self-publishing route because I am in control of everything. I control the art. I control the editing. I control how I market my books. It's working for me.
Carly: How did you go about finding your illustrator for your wonderful children's books?
Rae: I actually found my illustrator on Fiverr. There's pluses and minuses to Fiverr. I say go in and check it out. It's great, but go in with caution. There are some people out there who want to take advantage of people like us. I got lucky and I found Jason who is an art student in Peru of all places and I started working with him on Cowgirl Lessons. I work directly with him now.
The thing about finding an illustrator is obviously to find someone who creates art that for what you want. I work illustration by illustration with him. It's just easier for me to work with him one at a time. Also, I own the commercial right for all the art. I can use the art for commercial, so I can put it on cards, posters, or anything like that and sell it if I wanted to. That's really critical.
Read Rae's blog post on illustrations here:
Carly: I had a lot of fun preparing for this interview galloping around your website and your blog taking a look at the things that you're up to. You have some really informative blog posts. You wrote a blog post about the importance of ISBNs. This this topic I know can be confusing for a new author. Would talk about ISBNs and why knowing about them is really important for a book's success?
Rae: The most critical thing is every book that's published has to have an identification number. It's easy to use a free identifier offered by some book publishing platforms, but I don't recommend that. It goes back to control. If you're using your own numbers identifying your books, you have full and complete control. You want to make sure you can get your book into a school, into a library, into Barnes & Noble, or independent bookstores.
Carly: Where can author's get their own ISBN numbers that work for all the major book distributors?
Rae: Bowker.com. They are the only official place. It's only seller of the official ISBN.
Read Rae's informative blog post on ISBNs here:
Read Rae's blog post on the business of book publishing here:
Carly: Would you talk a little bit about what it is like to publish through IngramSpark? Do you publish exclusively with IngramSpark or do use other publishing sites at the same time?
Rae: I do publish with Amazon through KDP. I do that specifically so I can have the book available on Amazon ready to ship so readers can buy it with Prime. I also publish to IngramSpark for getting it to libraries, schools, and independent bookstores. It's pretty much the same for each platform for preparing the interior file. The cover is a little different just because each platform requires different specs.
Carly: How do you set yourself up for a success at an author event?
Rae: I try to do a bunch of marketing ahead of time. I'm finding that boosting Facebook posts, believe it or not, are actually helping. I reach out to local newspapers. I go online and search for any event calendar that will let me post an event for free.
I've been amazed by how many people come by and say they saw the event on Facebook. It's pretty affordable to advertise on Facebook. I think I spent twenty dollars and had nine hundred clicks. I didn't have nine hundred people show up, but just from running the ad and getting that exposure I had a bunch more people following my author page. There's a whole bunch of positives that can come out of that.
Carly: Speaking of events, your books Cowgirl Lessons and Cowgirl Christmas are EQUUS Film Festival literary nominees. It looks like you will be coming to the Festival at the Kentucky Horse Park. Tell us about how you learned about the EQUUS Film Festival.
Rae: I learned about the EQUUS Film Festival from you! You posted about your award. I was so happy for you. It's so exciting when we as independent authors get the recognition. I was curious to know more about it, so I did the research and I saw that they had a children's book category. I'm so excited that both books are nominees.
Carly: You are going to have a fantastic time. There are so many wonderful people and you get to meet and network. It's fun and there's so many great horse movies. I'm really excited to meet you in person. Congratulations again!
Learn more about the EQUUS Film Festival Literary Corral here:
Carly: You're obviously very well researched when it comes to being an independent author is there anything, any myth you want to debunk about indie publishing?
Rae: The biggest myth is that people say that independently published books aren't good books. That is 100% wrong. There are so many authors out there that are publishing really great indie books. Go out and embrace them!
Connect with Author Rae Rankin
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Rae-Rankin/
What a spur jingling author interview!
A BIG thank you to Rae Rankin for participating in my Equestrian Author Spotlight series. I learn so much from other equine authors and appreciate how unique each of our writing journeys are. I love that all the authors featured in this series are linked through our creativity, passion for writing, and love of horses. I think it is so important to support each other. I appreciate the support of a fellow author. Thanks for giving me the gift of your time, Rae! #authorsunite
Want more equine author interviews?
Subscribe to the Equestrian Author Spotlight podcast on YouTube, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, Spotify or via RSS, so you’ll never miss a show.
Free guide to the secrets of horse book authors!
This free resource includes words of wisdom and tips from equine authors on writing, independent publishing, traditional publishing, book marketing and more! Subscribe to the Equestrian Author Spotlight email list to have the author advice resource delivered instantly to your inbox.
I LOVE HORSE BOOKS! If you are an author who writes about horses and would like to be spotlighted let me know. I’d be happy to include you, too. Sharing about fellow horse book authors makes my spurs jingle! Visit my contact page at https://www.carlykadecreative.com/contact.html to fill out a request.
About Author Carly Kade
Carly Kade is an award-winning equestrian author and the host of the Equestrian Author Spotlight podcast. Creative writing makes her spurs jingle! She writes fiction about horses, horse shows, Western pleasure and a handsome cowboy or two. Her books are for people just like her — crazy about reading, horses and cute cowboys!
In her free time, Carly enjoys competitively showing her registered Paint Horse, works on her next novel, reads voraciously, spends time with her two adopted dogs, and loves exploring the great outdoors.
In the Reins, the first in Carly's series of novels inspired by the equestrian lifestyle, has been an Amazon best seller for more than 10 weeks, is an EQUUS Film Festival Literary Award Winner for Best Western Fiction and has earned two Feathered Quill Book Awards in the Romance and Adult Book featuring Animals categories. The In the Reins equestrian romance series is available now in Audiobook, Paperback and eBook on Amazon, Audible, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks and Kobo.
Carly Kade writes for anyone who loves horses, handsome cowboys and a great romance. Creative writing makes her spurs jingle!
Books by Carly Kade